Vauxhall’s owner – automotive conglomerate Stellantis – has unveiled a bold £100 million plan to transform the company’s Ellesmere Port Site in Cheshire into a major electric vehicle manufacturing plant.
The future of the plant had been in doubt after Stellantis dropped plans to build the new Vauxhall Astra there, but the fresh investment – which will see the site adapted to produce battery-electric light commercial vehicles (LCV) and passenger vehicles for Vauxhall, Opel, Peugeot and Citroën – is expected to safeguard more than 1000 jobs at the factory and within the wider supply chain.
Commenting on the announcement Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said: “Performance is always the trigger for sustainability and this £100million investment demonstrates our commitment to the UK and to Ellesmere Port.,”
UK government Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added: “Ellesmere Port’s proud tradition in auto manufacturing will continue for many years to come thanks to today’s investment. Stellantis’ decision to double down on their commitment to this site is a clear vote of confidence in the UK as one of the best locations globally for competitive, high-quality automotive production.”
The electric vehicles produced at the facility will all be powered by a 100kW (136hp) motor with a 50kWh lithium-ion battery. They are able to be charged at up to 100kW and take just 30 minutes to charge from 0% to 80%. Under WLTP conditions, they are capable of up to 174 miles of range.
The plant at Ellesmere Port will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, having been built in 1962, and produced its first car, the Vauxhall Viva, in 1964. Since that time, it has produced subsequent generations of the Vauxhall Viva, the Vauxhall Chevette and then each generation of the Vauxhall and Opel Astra. In total, since 1964, it has built over 5.2 million vehicles.
The shift to ev production will see the site equipped with a new body shop, upgraded general assembly, and on-site battery pack assembly facility. In a statement Stellantis said that it aims for the plant to be 100% self-sufficient for electricity and that work will commence imminently on potential wind and solar farms.